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7 Tips for Talking to People about Jesus

(Tim Gaydos is pastor of the downtown campus of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. What follows was adapted from his original post at The Resurgence blog…)

We met in the elevator of our condo building. Instead of staring down at the ground and avoiding eye contact, I said hello and introduced myself. I asked him a few non-awkward, basic questions. How long have you lived here? Do you like it? Have you met many people?

The following week, I saw him in the lobby, and we picked up the conversation with a longer discussion about sports. I invited him to get a bite to eat and watch a game at a local pub sometime. A couple of weeks later, we were grabbing a bite and watching a game together.

It wasnʼt long it “came out” that I was a Christian, went to church, and loved Jesus. He said to me, “Wow, my stereotype of Christians has been blown away. Youʼre normal. You like good food and drink, you love your city and donʼt come off as a judgmental jerk.” I soon invited him to church, where he heard the gospel preached powerfully. He became a Christian and got involved in Community Groups, praise God.

For whatever reason, it’s easy for Christians to clam up and get weird when talking about their faith in day-to-day life. Here are a few tips to bridge those inhibitions and get the conversation going:

1. Find a road that leads to Jesus. In the course of conversation, be thinking of how Jesus intersects with the discussion, because Jesus intersects and touches everything in our culture: sports, music, art, politics. Look for bridges to introduce Jesus into the conversation. It should be just as casually or passionately as you talk about everything else.

2. Donʼt be weird and awkward. “So…now, Iʼd like to talk with you about Jesus.” If all of a sudden you put on your “Jesus hat” and you’re talking to them like a project and not a friend, then you’re entering awkward territory. Now, there will be times it becomes awkward because talking about Jesus and sin can be that way, but don’t let it be because you are socially weird.

3. Be winsome. Included in that word is the word “win.” Be “winning” friends and the conversation by being engaging, friendly, and kind.

4. Counter stereotypes and caricatures of Christians. A lot of people have a particular caricature of a Christian, which is not very flattering (judgmental, harsh, the “morality police”), although many don’t personally have any Christian friends. Be gracious and talk with them, serve them, and love them.

5. Host an open house. When my wife and I moved into a new neighborhood, we hosted an open house and went over the top with really good food and wine. Dozens of our neighbors came out and it was the foundation for future gospel-centered conversations.

6. Be honest about your struggles and failings. We all fall short. We all struggle and fail. The credit has to be given to Jesus in your life. Many non-Christians donʼt want to talk with Christians as they will feel guilty regarding their own problems.

7. Actions also communicate. Serve your neighbors. Serve your neighborhood. Look for opportunities without being an attention-getter. Your neighbors are watching you – waiting to see if your life matches what you say you believe.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Thomas E. Latham
    September 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

    These are simple tips but they are very helpful. Sometime we just try to hard and we are serving it way to forceful. Those who are not saved have much to feel guilty about, but if we can’t bring them to a place of receptiveness then whatever seeds we plant will have trouble rooting. If we can build a relationship along with trust then our words of Jesus when shared will be more readily excepted. This is also how business should be conducted, building relationships and trust. Don’t try so hard just be yourself. We don’t all have a pulpit to preach from. Most redemption experiences would be a one on one experience where friendships are created.

  2. Karen
    October 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    This was very helpful! Thank you for sharing! God Bless.

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